How to Learn English by Yourself: 5 Useful Tips

5 Tips to Teach Yourself English

1. Set Goals to Learn English by Yourself

To learn English without a teacher, you will need to be realistic about your studying.

If you want to know how much English you already know, take an online English level test to check.

Now, decide how long you will study English every day. Thirty minutes is good, but if you can do more that’s even better.

Next, write down your English learning goals. This makes your goals real. Also, writing them down means that you can always look at them again.

You will also want to make many small goals instead of one big goal. Big goals can be intimidating (scary).

For example, look at these two goals:

  • I will understand every word in the first “Harry Potter” novel.
  • I will understand most of the words in the first “Harry Potter” novel, so that I don’t need to look up every word in the dictionary.

The first one is large and scary, but the second one is very doable!

To make good goals, use SMART goals. SMART stands for five words: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

Look at the picture below to see how the “Harry Potter” goal works by using the SMART goal method:

2. Make an English Study Plan

After you set some SMART goals, you will want to make an English study plan.

You don’t need to make it look like a college course outline. However, your study plan should have some details about what you will learn and how you will study it.

Think about your English learning goals. Make sure your study plan will help you complete those goals.

For example, say your goal is to improve your English reading. Your study plan should have activities that help with reading, like:

  • learning new vocabulary with flashcards
  • reading texts and writing summaries
  • doing grammar exercises

Make sure your study plan has different types of activities. That will keep your English studies interesting and fun! Here is a sample study plan for your first week of learning English by yourself.

Remember, a study plan should help you complete your goals. That means it can always change if you make new goals!

3. Start with Children’s Books, Movies and TV Shows

Are you just starting to learn English by yourself? Then this is the perfect place to begin.

You need to learn English sounds and basic vocabulary first… Just like English-speaking children!

Children’s books, TV shows and movies cover these basic topics. They are also easy to understand, even if you don’t know a lot of English yet.

Use materials made for children as well as your other learning materials. You will understand more and increase your confidence at the same time!

4. Use English Immersion

To successfully learn English by yourself, you should include English in your life as much as possible.

The best way to do this is immersion. Immersion language learning means surrounding yourself with the language you want to learn. So put English all around you!

You can move to an English-speaking country or city. Or, you can do English immersion at home.

There are many ways to do English immersion at home. You can:

  • Label things with their English names. Write the names of objects, furniture or rooms on Post-it Notes. Every time you see a Post-it Note, say the word out loud.
  • Use a computer program to learn English. Work through the program at your own speed. A good immersion program will teach you English by using English.
  • Do daily tasks in English. You can watch or read the news in English, or talk about what you need to do around the house. You can write a daily journal in English, and much more.
  • Talk with native English speakers. Make some English-speaking friends. Then, schedule a time to talk with them every week. It’s fun and educational!
  • Read about grocery stores products in English. You can use an app such as ShopSavvy to give you information about the things you see in shops. Give it a try!

This video gives a great summary on how to make the most of your immersion at home.

5. Listen to Anything and Everything in English

There is a lot of English listening material out there. This is very valuable (useful) for English learners.

Remember, you learned your first language by doing a lot of listening at the beginning. Listening helps you pick up (get) words from the people you hear.

You can do the same with English! At first, you may only understand a little. But the more you listen, the more vocabulary you will acquire (get).

So, listen to English whenever you have the chance. Play English songs in the background. Listen to English-learning podcasts. Watch TV shows or movies, or listen to people speak in English on the street.

Soon, you’ll be having conversations in English, too.

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